Blog Post #70 – Molds Shut Down Bunkhouse in the Yukon

Excerpt From the OH&S Magazine — April 2010

The British Columbia operator of a remote copper-gold mine in the Yukon has shut the doors to two bunkhouse units after mold was discovered in their bathrooms.

The mold was identified in mid-February during a joint health and safety committee inspection of the Minto Mine work camp near the Yukon community of Carmacks. Vancouver-based Capstone Mining Corp. Opted to close the units pending completion of an environmental hygiene assessment. When they looked at the washrooms and opened up a couple of walls, there was a significant mold problem.

Workers housed in the two units have been moved to temporary accommodations. Hemmera, an environmental services company in Vancouver, has been hired to do the hygiene assessment, reports Randall Thompson, General Manager of the Minto Mine.

On February 20th, almost four dozen employees and contract workers — employed as part of construction and drilling exploration crews — were bussed from the camp to Carmacks. The camp houses almost 200 beds.

Information from the CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety) located in Hamilton, Ontario, noted that the most commonly reported symptoms after inhaling mold include runny noses or nasal congestion, eye irritation, cough, aggravation of asthma, fatigue, headaches and difficulty concentration.

To prevent mold growth, the CCOHS recommends venting showers and other moisture-generating sources directly to the outside; using exhaust fans when cooking, laundering or cleaning large areas; insulating cold surfaces to prevent condensation on piping, windows, exterior walls, roofs and floors; and not installing carpet around fountains, sinks, showers or on top of concrete floors prone to leak condensation.

My opinion

As a trainer in BCT Level 1 (as well as 2), I enjoyed reading this article showing me that the JHSC program is alive and working well in the Yukon.

The JHSC (Joint Health & Safety Committee) cannot do its job if there is little or no support from both sides of the working world, the management as well as the workers.

Here we see the committee performing their monthly inspection to look for possible occupational hazards. The committee notified the General Manager, Randall Thompson, that an immediate assessment needs to be performed to determine the degree of the contamination so that proper controls can be instituted.

Remember ! The JHSC has one main function; to Recognize, Assess, Control Hazards

Identification of Hazards

– Identifying potential hazards in the workplace
– Identifying the adverse effects that may be associated with these hazards
– Determining whether there is a possibility of people being exposed or affected

Assessment of Hazards

– Covers equipment, processes and work procedures
– Considers which workers, if any, are exposed, or likely to be exposed, to an identified workplace hazard and for how long

Control of Hazards

– The principles of hazard control are often described by the location of the control, ‘at the source’ of the hazard and ‘along the path’ between the hazard and the worker, or ‘at the worker’.

I will be watching this one carefully as I am interested in to what type of control measures are going to be introduced.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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